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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

A mixed methods study examining the instructional environment for students with autism in general education elementary classrooms
by Hawthorne-Schlichting, Lori, Ph.D., Northwest Nazarene University, 2017, 158; 10276772
Abstract (Summary)

Autism research continues to refine the exact rate of autism; it also attempts to approximate the undiagnosed rate of autism to capture the number of individuals functioning on the high-end of the spectrum without a formal diagnosis. Whether students exhibiting characteristics of autism have a formal diagnosis or not, many enrolled in public education classrooms are most appropriately served in the general education setting. This study examined the characteristics of students in general education settings to ascertain the number of students diagnosed with autism. Additionally, it investigated the educational practices regularly applied in the general education setting in conjunction with the classroom teacher’s knowledge of those practices most beneficial to students with autism. This mixed methods investigation used a survey to examine practices in two Utah school districts. Reported rates of students who were served under an IEP or 504 and identified as having autism were consistent with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reporting rates of autism prevalence in the United States. Teachers identified instructional practices effective for students with autism 80% of the time. Additionally, teachers reported they “always” or “often” used 91.7% of the instructional practices in their classrooms that have been identified as effective for students with autism. Fisher’s exact test yielded no statistically significant differences between groups of participants. Themes from open-ended survey responses revealed students with significant learning differences impact the delivery of the curriculum, but teachers believe the general education setting is most appropriate for students with learning differences. Teachers also report feeling inadequately prepared to teach students with autism. Data suggests that additional research is needed regarding the design and implementation of universal classroom instructional strategies to meet the needs of all learners in the general education setting.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Studebaker, Bethani
Commitee: Beus, Michelle, Bingham, Don
School: Northwest Nazarene University
Department: Education
School Location: United States -- Idaho
Source: DAI-A 78/10(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Elementary education, Special education
Keywords: Autism, Elementary education, General education, Inclusive classrooms
Publication Number: 10276772
ISBN: 978-1-369-77616-4
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